Thursday, October 2, 2014

Anger's up and down sides

Anger is an interesting emotion, isn't it? Most of us women were raised with the idea that it's an emotion we should avoid. It surely isn't feminine to get angry. Right? (And the corollary of that was that men were told to avoid sadness and crying because that was a female thing! They were allowed anger, and we were allowed sadness and tears.) Let's examine that, though.

Emotions are emotions. Pure and simple. They come uninvited and know no gender. They aren't right or wrong. They just are. How we use emotions matters, however. And what we do with those emotions may seem to be more gender-specific, largely because of how we're taught to react or respond.

What I have discovered about anger, for instance, is that there are times I want to keep it for a while. Anger contains an enormous amount of energy. And there are times in life when you and I need that energy to get through an experience. I certainly needed it, for example, when I went through my divorce years ago. Its energy fueled me to get through lots of fear and what otherwise might have been immobilizing negative thoughts. Anger gave me the energy to get through many tough days. I needed it when I lost my job, too.

Once it's served its usefulness, however, it should be dropped. Like a hot potato. For once you've mined the gold in anger, as a friend of mine puts it, anger will reverse itself and suck energy right out of you. It will become the proverbial ball-and-chain. So pay good attention to your anger—know when you need its energy and when it begins to take away your energy.

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